Monthly Archives: FEBRUARY 2016

The Saga Of A Gurdwara ... Under Siege In Guru Nanak Dev University! In Amritsar?
The Saga Of A Gurdwara  ... Under Siege  In Guru Nanak Dev University!  In Amritsar?

'The Hindustan Times' has just published a story from the campus of Guru Nanak University (GNDU), Amritsar, where it is reported that the administration of the University is seeking to take over control -- possibly to close it down? -- of the Campus Gurdwara which has been run by students from its very inception. 

The story of the origins of this gurdwara is as related below. The original story on its formation was first published in ‘The Sikh Review' in November 2004.
The morning alarm rang at 4 o’clock. 
It was Jasjot’s turn today. Commonly known as ‘susti’ by the closest around him, he was in his University hostel room, wrapped in his much loved ‘rajaee’ with all the corners tucked under his body. 
Still, he took less than a second to slap the small button on the head of the clock and silenced it. This happened every Friday morning, the day it was Jasjot’s turn. 
But his love and determination towards his duty were unquestionable, especially since it involved coming out of this dormant stage from his cocoon. 
There was a knock on his door. It was Prabhpal. He had returned from the campus gurdwara after finding it closed. Jasjot was supposed to open it today and do the seva and the parkash. 
It was a gurdwara, one of a kind in the whole world. There was no granthi, no raagi, no sevadaar, and yes, no pardhaan and no secretary. In fact everyone was the granthi, the raagi, the sevadaar, the pardhaan and the secretary. 
This was the small gurdwara in the campus of Guru Nanak University in Amritsar, Punjab. 
The story of its coming into being is interesting and inspiring. It is said that the University, in the late 1980’s, constructed a septagon shaped building which was supposed to house the student center. In the center of the building there was a septagon shaped hall which could be reached by going down a few steps. This hall was surrounded by rooms with glass walls facing the center. A kitchen was located in the north-east part of the building. 
Some time later, the law faculty started holding its classes there. 
There was a general disappointment among the students that there was no gurdwara in the University. When they saw this small building in the middle of the campus being constructed, the idea of the perfect place for a campus gurdwara struck them. 
Though it was a perfect building for the gurdwara, at that time of the ‘troubles’ in Punjab, making such a demand was no less than a challenge. And, as was expected, the University administration summarily rejected the students’ demand for the establishment of the gurdwara on campus. 
But that era of acute human rights violations by the state and the resistance movement that followed in Punjab also meant excessive determination amongst the Sikh youth to struggle for their just cause. 
And this desire of having a gurdwara proved no exception to their determination. In the middle of one night in April 1986, some students took the saroop of Guru Granth Sahib and did parkash in the building. 
The incident was followed by some arrests by the police, but finally the much awaited dream came true. The parkash was done, the nishan sahib was erected, the kitchen started running and thus the gurdwara was established within the Guru Nanak University campus under the spirit of ‘Degh Tegh Fateh’! 
However, this didn’t lead to the thawing of relations between pro-gurdwara student activists and the university administration. For ten years there was no official recognition to the gurdwara by the administration. Even the university shied from mentioning this building on its published official maps.
No support from the administration meant students had to use their own dasvandh for running the gurdwara. First they constructed a small podium in the center hall where the throne of the Guru Granth Sahib was installed.
The hall and the rooms were carpeted. The two rooms, one on the left and the other on the right, were reserved for the sangat. A library was set up in the room behind the podium. 
In one small room the place for sukhasan was established and another small room was reserved for gurdwara’s management.
And now, every year in February, the students celebrate the foundation day of the gurdwara on a large scale. All the seva, ranging from making langar for thousands to doing the service and kirtan, is managed by the students. On this day, professional raagis, dhaadis and katha-vaachaks also join the celebrations. 
This gurdwara has become a source of inspiration for many. And what better place could it be than in the University campus where thousands of students come every year to attain knowledge (gyan).
The gurdwara has also served as a gurmat school where many students have learnt from each other to do kirtan, ardaas, take vaak, do parkash, perform sukhasan and prepare karah parshaad.
In the absence of a granthi this gurdwara also takes the credit of being one of the very few gurdwaras where all men and women stand shoulder to shoulder in performing any kind of seva. 
This gurdwara also serves as an example of harmony, selflessness and team-work where the students volunteer to do seva, which they take on from the senior students, and in turn pass on what they have learnt to newcomers. 
Every year new students come to the University, some of them, like Jasjot and Prabhpal, get involved in the seva…  and thus this cycle of seva piety continues.
My own association with the GNDU Gurdwara -- I attained my gradutation and post-graduation in 'Human Genetics' from the University from 1994-1999 -- included my stint as one of the student volunteers who did seva at the gurdwara.
The author lives and works in Denmark as a Chief Operating Officer of a Danish Biotech company, ARCEDI Biotech, which developes new technologies for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis. 

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The Ram Jethmalani interview: Jaitley ‘controls the media’ and Modi ‘made a fool of me’
25.02.16 - Ajaz Ashraf
The Ram Jethmalani interview: Jaitley ‘controls the media’ and Modi ‘made a fool of me’

Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ram Jethmalani is said to be India’s highest-paid lawyer. In this interview with, he explains why he is representing Arvind Kejriwal for Re 1 in the defamation cases filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Jethmalani speaks of Jaitley’s role in removing him as Law Minister under the National Democratic Alliance government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, his disappointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, how he was persuaded to appear for LK Advani in the hawala case, and the Rs 13 lakhs he paid to get an article against Jaitley published in a newspaper. Excerpts:

Considering that you are said to be India’s highest-paid lawyer, why have you chosen to represent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in the civil and criminal defamation cases filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, for just Re 1?
Listen, I have this reputation that I am a highly paid lawyer, but what many people don’t know is that I earn money from only 10% of my clients. The rest of my work is pro bono. I work free. Sure, I am not charging any fee from Kejriwal and that’s because his government itself is so poor. (Laughs heartily.)

Did the Aam Aadmi Party leaders reach out to you or did you reach out to them?
I don’t get in touch with anyone on my own. Kejriwal got in touch with me and I promptly said to him, "Yes, I will surely represent you."

Have you been through the papers pertaining to the charges of corruption in the Delhi & District Cricket Association?

So do you think the charges of defalcation of money from the DDCA during Jaitley’s tenure as president are legally tenable?
If a person was reasonably careful, he would have detected the fault and certainly brought it out or dissociated himself totally from it. There is good reason to believe Jaitley has consciously shut his eyes to the fraud in the DDCA. Beyond this, I am not willing to go. But many people would draw stronger inferences than I have. I am still in the state of giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Is it unusual for a person to file both civil and criminal defamation cases?
Yes, first of all, I believe his game is that he will try to get an injunction against the repetition of the statements of which he is complaining. For this, he will use the civil suit. He, anyway, has no intention of going ahead with that suit.

Why do you say that?
I know the tricks of the trade. Jaitley thinks through the criminal case he will strike fear in his opponents. I hope, by now, he has been disillusioned on this count. As it is, in a defamation case, the complainant turns into an accused.

If the court comes to the conclusion that the defamation case is not sustainable, what is the next step? Would Jaitley be deemed guilty of corruption charges? Or would it be all right to conclude that prima facie a case of corruption against him exists?
Well, of course, the least Jaitley will have to do is to resign. I don’t want to see him in jail anyhow. The public life should be cleaned of people who can’t claim to have a completely pure character.

The BJP has demanded that Kejriwal should apologise for his accusations against Jaitley as neither he nor anyone has been named in the report of the three-member panel of inquiry that was appointed by the Delhi government into corruption in DDCA.
Even panels which are appointed don’t wish to get into trouble with politicians, particularly those who are influential. Merely because the panel doesn’t name him means nothing at all. Besides, if a person does not do anything about the wrongs going on around him, then the reasonable inference is that he is colluding in them.

In the court of the people of India, it is not required that proof of guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The common man has a greater understanding of the rules of evidence than a lawyer has. I, personally, think Jaitley has taken a very ill-advised step.

That is of…
He shouldn’t have gone to the court. These are matters you must fight in the court of the people.

So if Jaitley would have sought your advice…
I never, never, never advise people to go to court, particularly so when there exist some questionable aspects of their public life. Even Kejriwal might not know about it, but which his lawyer perhaps would know better. That is why it was so ill-advised of Jaitley to have taken the step of going to court.  He should have handled it politically. Ultimately, the people of India have to judge you.

Have you met Kejriwal on this issue?
His friends came over. He, too, came here (to Jethmalani’s home) once and I told him, "Do not worry, I will certainly appear for you." [But] even the copy of complaint is not available still. 

When Jaitley went to file the defamation complaints, he was accompanied by BJP foot-soldiers and leaders. It was precisely what happened when Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi appeared in court in the National Herald case. What does the similarity between the two scenes tell you?
These are some kind of shows for the people. This does not mean anything to an honest judge. A good judge may even suspect that this is aimed to influence him.

You have gone on record saying you don’t like Jaitley. What lies underneath the differences between the two of you?
I have very strong opinions about Jaitley. These are not good opinions about him.

Like what?
Wait till he is cross-examined. I don’t want to spell it out because I don’t want him to be ready (in the court) with anything. But he surely does know that I know many things about him.

Again, like what?
Okay, let me give you one instance. Throughout the 2014 election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a very strong and appealing argument against black money. There is a report of a task force of the BJP itself that $ 1,500 billion, or Rs 90 lakh crore, are stashed abroad. Now, Germany is a richer country than us. I don’t believe people in Germany are more corrupt than Indians, yet they paid $475 million to an employee of the Liechtenstein Bank and got 1,400 names. The Swiss Bankers Association declared that the majority of the names were of Indians. The German government officially declared that it was willing to share the names with any friendly government, without cost, without condition. I want to know whether the then government was prepared to end corruption and…

That was under the United Progressive Alliance government, right?
Yes, the UPA government did nothing, which was the reason why the people threw them out. But what were the Opposition leaders doing? Were they not interested? Even after coming to power, they haven’t gone to the Germans asking for the names, even though Modi visited Germany and the German chancellor came here. The very fact that they did not ask for the names is an almost conclusive evidence that they know the names and they don’t want them to be made public. It also means both are on the list.

Both meaning leaders from the Congress and the BJP?
[Laughs] On top of it, after having won the election on the major plank of the UPA corruption, the party president [Amit Shah], who has been appointed by Modi, makes a public statement that all this talk of corruption, of getting back the black money from abroad, was an election jumla, a joke. It amounts to them accepting that they cheated the people. It is a confession to the grand larceny on the people of this country, that is, the BJP stole the votes of the people by making false representations.

Mr Modi doesn’t say anything. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley doesn’t say anything. What does it show?  It shows that all three – Modi, Jaitley, Shah – are in conspiracy. That is why from being the greatest supporter of Modi I have now turned into his greatest critic.

And that is because you feel he has betrayed the people?
I went to Bihar. Nitish Kumar invited me to campaign for him. I told him I didn’t have enough time to go around canvassing. But I asked Nitish to organise two meetings. I also told him, "Believe you me, I will not speak for more than 20 minutes."

So I addressed two meetings in Bihar. I told the audience that it needed to support Nitish and Lalu, that the NDA had betrayed the people and did not deserve their support. But I also told them that I had come to them for a different reason. I said I had come to seek their forgiveness. I said that this was because I am an educated person who has 75 years of experience as a criminal lawyer, and how it was that Modi made a fool of me. I said that even though I had been expelled from the BJP, I worked for him during the 2014 election campaign.

So did Modi or BJP reach out to you to campaign for him?
Let me complete the story. I used to write a weekly column for the Sunday Guardian. You should read the piece I wrote immediately after the 2014 election results were announced. "Mr Modi, congratulations on your spectacular success and I am pleased I made a small contribution to your success. But I am writing this only to tell you that as far as I am concerned, I am in the departure lounge of God’s airport. I want nothing from you; nothing means nothing. Now fulfil your promises to people."

Do you know Modi did not have the courtesy to pick up the phone to thank me even once? What does it show? To me, it shows he is non-human, to say the least. Till today, the man hasn’t spoken to me.

So I told the people of Bihar that I had come to seek their forgiveness, that even I, who is supposed to be a great criminal lawyer of this country, had been swindled.

This went viral. Nitish used this in every speech of his. See, what happened to Modi’s campaign in Bihar? He campaigned intensively, yet suffered the most spectacular defeat of his life. Modi doesn’t realise it.

Why do you think he doesn’t realise it?  Have you met Modi?
He used to come here [Jethmalani’s home.]

During the 2014 campaign?
Yes, and before it too. On my birthday in September 2013, both Modi and Advani were present when I tried to bring some sort of understanding between them. Modi has come to my residence more than once. I got lawyers from all political parties to participate in his campaign. Between 15,000-20,000 lawyers assembled in Talkatora stadium, from every part of the country.

Nothing could be worked out between Advani and Modi?
Nothing. On the contrary, Modi has disabled all of them. (Laughs.)

Had Jaitley been in touch with you? What do you think of him?
What has Jaitley done? I can’t remember a big case in which he has appeared, but he perhaps has a bank balance ten times of mine. You can draw your inferences.

Ever since you went public with your decision to represent Kejriwal, the media has been furiously speculating that you have done this because it was Jaitley who was responsible for your removal as law minister under the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Is this true?
Well, he certainly misguided Vajpayee. At that time, the Congress-led government was in Maharashtra. Bal Thackeray had done something seven years ago – I forget what it was precisely – and the Maharashtra government wanted to arrest him. He was a BJP ally. So Prime Minister Vajpayee called me and said, "Ram, he is our ally and you have to defend him."

I told Vajpayee, "He is a friend. You don’t worry, nothing will happen." I was the law minister then and I made a strong public statement defending Thackeray.

By some curious incident, Chief Justice [Adarsh Sein] Anand made an attack on me. He said, "What did the Law Minister mean by issuing statements to defend Thackeray?" These statements were made in the presence of [former Attorney General] Soli Sorabjee and Arun Jaitley. Once Chief Justice Anand made the statement, I called the press and asked them to convey to the Chief Justice that I knew my job and I certainly knew more law than the Chief Justice did. In the first place, it was wrong of him to make that statement in my absence. Second, the statement was absolutely scandalous and unworthy of Chief Justice.

I believe Sorabjee and Jaitley went to Vajpayee and told him the Supreme Court had become the enemy of the government. They said they [NDA] would be in great trouble with the Supreme Court until I was dropped. Vajpayee didn’t have the courage to call me up. So he asked poor Jaswant Singh to do the job.

I remember I was travelling by car from Mumbai to Pune. Jaswant called. So I remarked, "Jaswant, what calls for this urgent call to me?" He said that the Prime Minister wanted me to resign. I didn’t bat an eyelid. I said, "Jaswant, tell the Prime Minister he will get my resignation letter from the nearest fax machine that I can get on the Bombay-Pune road." (Laughs.) I did it.

Didn’t you ask Jaswant Singh what the reason was?
No. Believe you me, I haven’t seen Vajpayee’s face since then. How many years have gone by? These days, sometimes, I wonder whether I should go to meet him. I am told he is in bad shape. But I simply can’t make up my mind to see him.

Are you suggesting Jaitley has a complex vis-à-vis you?
Naturally. You see, all these creatures don’t want anyone who is intellectually superior to them. They managed my expulsion from the BJP [in 2013].

Didn’t you file a defamation suit against the BJP then?
No, I filed a suit for declaring that the order of expulsion is void.

What has happened to the case?
They are seeking adjournments all the time.

Jaitley is supposed to have a lot of clout. Where does his clout come from?
Well, he certainly controls the media, which is not so much a reflection on Jaitley as much as it is on the media itself, on the media bosses. You see, I hardly appear for TV interviews. I have told them that their bosses will not permit them to carry any of the things I say.

In April [this year], I wrote a very strong article against Jaitley. In the article I asked him some questions and sought his replies. For five years till then, I used to write my weekly piece for theSunday Guardian. I would send my piece on Friday, they would look at it on Saturday, and it would appear Sunday morning.

When I opened the newspaper on Sunday morning, I found my article (the one asking questions) had been blanked out. There was an advertisement inserted in the slot where the article should have been. I was the chairman of the Board (of the Sunday Guardian) at that time. I resigned that day. Of course, I put the piece on my twitter and Facebook accounts.

But what I also did was to call the Indian Express. I told the Express that I wanted them to publish my article and that they could do so as a paid advertisement. I said I would pay for it. Do you know I was charged Rs 13 lakh for it?

Rs 13 lakh for the piece!
Yes, but the article did appear in full [as an advertisement]. The article was on why the government wasn’t doing anything to bring back black money from abroad.

This is shocking.
(Laughs) I don’t know whether it went into the pockets of the Indian Express or to their agents.

Perhaps the highest amount a writer paid to have his piece published.
(Laughs) Ya, ya, I paid for it.

The Finance Minister wouldn’t have liked that, would he?
Jaitley knows he has no answer. If he has an honest answer to give, he should. Why is he in the public life? To give answers.

When I was driving to your place, a friend who knew I was to interview you wanted me to find out whether it was indeed true, as is the talk in the legal fraternity, that Jaitley used to carry your coat in his younger days.
(Silent for a few seconds) No doubt about it. Well, now look when Advani…

Why do you think Modi dragged LK Advani into the DDCA controversy by saying that Jaitley’s innocence would be proved in the hawala case as Advani’s was in the hawala case? (It was a scandal that broke out in 1991. Several politicians were accused of accepting money through hawala brokers)
Modi’s statement is extremely ambiguous. You see, Advani had resigned when the case was on. I must tell you that he approached me…

Who? Advani?
Yes, he and Jaitley approached me on the hawala case. Jaitley was Advani’s lawyer then. He had charges framed against Advani in the judgement written by the Session Court over 200 pages. [Meaning Jaitley couldn’t convince the Sessions Court that no charges were made out against Advani.] I said I was sorry, I refused point-blank to appear for Advani.

After a week, they again came, including Jaitley. Advani said he would resign from politics altogether if I were not to take up his case. He said I would be responsible for it. He did a kind of satyagraha in my house. Advani’s wife is my rakhi sister. Ultimately, I took up the case. I fought it free. I got the charges against him quashed by the High Court. The government went in appeal to the Supreme Court. I fought the appeal in the Supreme Court and got the judgement of the High Court sustained.

LK Advani has written, I think, a 600-page book [My Life, My Country actually has 1,000 pages] in which there is just one reference to me, and that is, "Ram Jethmalani is born in Shikarpur [in Sindh, Pakistan]." (Laughs). He is party to my expulsion.

Is he?
Yes, he is. Along with Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari. At least Gadkari is appreciative of the fact that he did a wrong thing against me.

Why did Gadkari move against you?
I called Gadkari. This was at the time the BJP was amending the Constitution to give him the second term. I was opposed to it. I explained to Gadkari, "Please, try to understand that I am not your enemy. I am not coveting your office. But I will tell you why I am opposed to the party’s move to give you a second term."

I reminded him about the ugly incident in his life, for which he was personally not responsible. But the government knew about it, I said to him, and it would therefore always blackmail you. Even today, he is appreciative of the advice I gave him, unlike other rascals. He is more friendly to me than them, despite the fact that he did sign my expulsion order.

What is the ugly incident are you referring to?
The ugly incident was, well… he had a car in his garage. A girl was found dead in the car. What was the defence? The garage door was open, the car door was open, and the girl walked into the garage, then into the car, and the door of the car shut behind her, and she couldn’t open it. Will you believe the story that she died of suffocation?

I told Gadkari that he would always be blackmailed on this count. This was why he shouldn’t become the president. So he too joined the clique.

Do you agree with the BJP that says the Delhi government isn’t entitled to institute a commission of inquiry into the DDCA?
I think the BJP is wrong. Let them fight it out in the court. Apart from the three things (land, police and public order) spelt out, it is in charge of everything else.

Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is available in bookstores.

(Courtesy :

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Real-Life Messiah: Patna’s Gurmeet Singh
25.02.16 -
Real-Life Messiah:  Patna’s Gurmeet Singh

Are you in pain?

This is the question Gurmeet Singh usually asks when he enters a hospital ward in the northern Indian city of Patna, in the state of Bihar.

It is a damp and grubby facility with lime-green walls and stained tiled floors. Half a dozen gurneys for sick patients are scattered all over the ill-lit place. A fetid smell of urine and stale food fills the air. When night falls, rats slink out of a defunct fireplace and scurry for food.

The food -- dinner comprises rice, lentil soup and some vegetable gruel -- is insipid. A doctor and a nurse come on their rounds a couple of times a day. At other times, the patients appear to be left to their fate.

The place has the appalling moniker of the ward for lawaris or the abandoned. Put simply, it treats patients who have no family or have been rejected by them. When they recover, they are usually sent away to rehab homes -- or returned to the streets.

For its inmates, the ward can be their home for months on end, for the streets, where they usually live and forage for food and shelter, can be a harsher place.

Tonight, it appears, nobody is hurting.

On a bed, lies a young woman who has had her limbs amputated after she was hit by a train. She's also pregnant.

The nurses call her Manju. Questions about her family, home and the father of the baby draw a blank. Some nights ago, they found her weeping on the cold floor after she was bitten by rats.

But when Gurmeet Singh enters the ward, her face lights up, and she smiles wanly.

In the bed opposite her, a bedraggled woman with wild hair and wearing a dirty green jacket over a torn cotton gown trembles all the time. Tonight, she's holding a loaf of bread that the hospital gave in the morning. One night, other inmates say, she fell off the bed and lay on the floor for a while.

Across the room, Tapan Bhattacharya, 40, lies in a bed with his leg in traction. He says he landed up here with a broken femur after the auto-rickshaw he was travelling in overturned.

"Can you find me a job?" he asks. "I have nobody and nowhere to go to."

In another room, across the ward, two patients, Sudhir Rai and Farhan, appear to be lost in their own world, hoarding bread and fruit from breakfast and waiting for their next meal.

Farhan became an amputee a fortnight ago after he was hit by a train near Patna. Sudhir does not tell me what is wrong with him. There are no doctors or bed charts to check with. There's a stream of pale blood and urine flowing on the floor under his bed.

But, as soon as Gurmeet waddles into the ward, there's a frisson of excitement among its inmates. Their weary faces light up, some even manage to break into a smile.
By day, Gurmeet, a genial 60-year-old man, works at the family-owned clothes shop in a bustling city market.

By night, he is a veritable messiah to the residents of this foul kingdom of disease and disability, tucked away in a corner of a vast 90-year-old 1,760-bed state-run Patna Medical College and Hospital, one of the largest in the state of Bihar.

For more than 20 years now, Gurmeet has been visiting the abandoned patients' ward every night with food and medicines. He hasn't been on a vacation or stepped out of Patna for the past 13 years because, he says, he cannot abandon the abandoned.

The unfailing devotion to his patients is matched by Gurmeet's unchanging routine. Around nine every evening, he leaves his modest apartment -- all his five brothers live on the same floor in one of the city's oldest high-rises -- and heads to the hospital.

He picks up some money to pay for medicines -- the five brothers put away 10% (daswandh - the tradition of tithing in their Sikh Faith) of their monthly earnings in a donation box at home to pay for Gurmeet's patients -- that are not provided by the hospital, where treatment is free.

On the way he stops at one of the many cheap hole-in-the-wall eateries that dot Patna to pick up bread, vegetables, salad, eggs and curd to feed to his patients.


Once Gurmeet reaches the ward, he enquires about the patients' condition, playing, at once, nurse, doctor, provider and kin. He goes through their prescriptions and pays for the more expensive medicines, tests, scans, and chemotherapy for cancer patients. He also donates "a lot of" blood. Then he takes out the shining steel plates, and caringly serves the food.

Tonight the menu is piping hot bread, vegetables, curd and a sweet. The gruel that the hospital provides for dinner is usually left uneaten. In a bit, the patients are wolfing down their first proper meal of the day.

"All they need is some dignity and some care. The government is not even able to provide that. In the past 22 years that I have been coming here, nothing has improved in this ward. Nothing," says Gurmeet.

So doctors and nurses are scarce and treatment is scanty. The state of the hospital is a reflection of Bihar's dreadful public health services: hospitals have less than half the nurses they need; and only 2,289 of the sanctioned 4,851 jobs of doctors have been filled up.
On the other hand, bed occupancy rates regularly exceed 100%, forcing patients to be treated on the floor.

Gurmeet's involvement began some two decades ago when a woman selling plastic bags turned up at his shop carrying a badly scalded boy in her arms.

"It was a hot day. I saw tears in her eyes. Then I saw her boy who had got burnt. I took them to this hospital, and found that there was nobody to treat him. The doctors were on strike. The poor and the abandoned were the worst affected. I was very angry. I decided to do something about it."

Authorities want to fete him for his work and have sent him letters of admiration, but the Good Samaritan prefers to shun the spotlight. Tonight, he is busy feeding the dishevelled woman who is having her first proper meal of the day. Then he'll tuck her under a blanket for the night.

"He is like God," comes a voice from the ward, as the diminutive Sikh man puts out the light and shuts the door to keep the cold out.

He will be back again tomorrow night.

[Courtesy: BBC News.]

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Engineer Sends this Open letter with DD of Rs 364 to Kejriwal to Buy Shoes
25.02.16 -
Engineer Sends this Open letter with DD of Rs 364 to Kejriwal to Buy Shoes

Is this not a publicity stunt? He earns more than 2 lakhs/month, an ex-IRS officer and currently CM of Delhi still he doesn’t have common etiquette to meet a guest who is a president of his nation?
No, boys & girls! Mr. Kejriwal was at the President’s dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, not a friend’s birthday party in a restaurant in Hauz Khas. Every member of the defence, has to follow strict rules in dressing up. The President is the supreme Commander of all of these forces. He is, for all intents & purposes, above politics & ipso facto, the law. The chair demands some amount of respect.
While dressing as per one’s convenience is a question of personal liberty, some places are above personal preferences. Even the way you tilt your head means a lot in matters of international relations. It’s not the visitor’s prerogative to dress the way he likes. There are very strict protocol for dressing up in certain countries’ state heads’ presence.
Making a display of wealth is perceived wrong, but making an much more blatant display of austerity is much worse. Anyway, I have written a letter to Mr. Kejriwal. Here’s a copy for your reading:

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi
3rd Level, Delhi Secretariat
I.P. Estate, New Delhi – 110002
Dear Mr. Kejriwal
I’m a businessman from Visakhapatnam. My city will host the International Fleet Review this weekend. Such events are held to show our capability & build "bridges of friendship” with other nations. The event will be attended by delegates from around 60 countries. Chances are that you might get an invite, too! This thought alarms me, which is the main reason I write to you today.
Sir, we know that the President of France (François Hollande) was India’s guest of honour in the Republic Day this year. I avoid the "Bahut Krantikari!” mainstream media at all costs. So, this Sunday, while scouring the internet for news, I came across an article saying that you met Mr. Hollande at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in the presence of the Hon’ble President of India, wearing sandals! It broke my heart to see you like this. I’m deeply aggrieved. It’s sad that the Delhi Government does not even provide proper footwear to its employees whereas even micro scale industries (such as mine), with their lifetime budgets far lesser than Delhi Government’s daily budget, provide boots to their labourers free of cost!
Therefore, as a responsible citizen (& prudent businessman), I took it upon myself to rise to the occasion & help you. I initially had plans to contribute some money from my own pocket. However, since I’m against donations to any political party, I decided against it & followed your footsteps instead. I took to the streets to gather money to fund a pair of footwear for you. Due to time constraints, I could only go to every flat in my own & 2 adjacent buildings.
Sir, like you, I’m a Mechanical Engineer too, albeit not from an IIT or other similar reputed institution. Like you, I’m a Marwari (baniya) too. But unlike you, I lack the raw charisma of the common man from the streets. So, despite earnest efforts, I could only gather Rs. 364/- (Three Hundred & Sixty-four Only) for you. Though such a modest amount is not enough for a Chief Minister, I believe any amount is good enough for the someone who claims that he has no shoes despite having a monthly salary of "only” Rs. 2,10,000/-. [refer P.S.]
Sir, I know that this is a very small amount, but it is the result of the effort of an entire Sunday afternoon of hard work. I had initiated the collection with an initial contribution of Rs. 49/- (as a tribute to the number of days in your First Term). Also, I paid the DD commission to the bank to avoid affecting the collections. I humbly request your good self to kindly accept this small contribution & use it to buy a nice pair of black formal shoes. Should you need any more money, kindly write back & I will go around the block (& the entire city if need be) asking for more.
Sir, certain protocols have dictated our democratic set up & international relations since time immemorial. Though you (a self proclaimed proud anarchist) might have no regard for them, it is strongly recommended that you maintain dignity with foreign delegates. Like Hon’ble President (Pranab Da), you too, were representing the country that day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, not staging a dharna at an Aam Aadmi Party rally at Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar. You’re a grown man. Please act according to the situation & dress for the occasion.
Before I conclude, I feel obligated to remind you that some Presidents (such as Sri KR Narayanan) had mandated dress codes for their guests.
I hope you will honour my humble request. Live Long & Prosper!
Warm Regards
Yours Truly
Sumit Agrawal
P.S. After the recent self awarded 400% hike in your salary, you now draw Rs. 2.1 Lakh from the taxpayer’s exchequer every month – the highest in any state of the country, much higher than even the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India (Sri Narendra Modi), whom you seem to hate with so much passion. While I understand your concern about a hypothetical situation for him when he encounters the President of the USA (Mr. Barak Obama) ["Kal ko Modi Obama se miley toh kya bolenege?”], one can only imagine how embarrassed you will be if the matter comes up during a Centre-State dialogue.
Encl.: DD # 596203 for Rs. 364/- drawn on State Bank of India payable at Delhi.

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